Grinding teeth and excessive salivation|
Teeth grinding is a common and frustrating presentation in cats. Teeth grinding with excessive salivation is very likely related to oral pain. Gastrointestinal and neurologic problems must also be considered and carefully ruled out.
The most common sources of oral pain in cats are dental pain, oral lesions, and jaw fracture. Tooth resorption, fractured teeth and dental abscesses are the most common causes of dental pain. Stomatitis is a severely painful oral inflammatory condition and tumors (squamous cell carcinoma) are the most common painful non-inflammatory oral lesions. We look carefully for oral burns and lacerations as potential causes of oral pain. Oral discomfort from temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), malocclusion, foreign bodies or the ingestion of unpleasent substances (especially household chemicals and plants) must also be ruled out.
After oral pain has been ruled out, abdominal pain, nausea and neurologic diseases are considered as potential causes of teeth grinding and salivation. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatic disease, cholangiohepatitis, gastritis and hypokalemia (low potassium) are also ruled out. From a neurologic perspective we need to consider rabies, bartonella, brain tumors and peripheral nerve neuropathies.
How do we make the diagnosis?
Dr. Kressin will initially provide an oral exam and consultation. This allows for a thorough discussion of your pet's history and information provided by your family veterinarian (referral form). The consultation is an opportunity to discuss the diagnostic plan.
Dental radiographs with periodontal probing is the essential first step to evaluate for major sources of dental pain. A comprehensive oral exam can help rule out most of the above described oral diseases and related problems. Incisional or excisional biopsies may be taken for histology (pathologist's evaluation).
During the initial anesthesia period, Dr. Kressin prefers to speak with the owner over the telephone to discuss and obtain informed consent to procede and to treat problems identified. If the owner prefers to consider the treatment plan before proceding, a second appointment may be scheduled.
Dr. Kressin works closely with your family veterinarian and other specialists in a team effort. Together we can provide endoscopy and other internal medicine evaluations. We have both cat scans (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MR) available to us.
Fuzzy had supernumerary (extra) third premolar teeth on both upper dental arcades. This caused a malocclusion resulting in teeth grinding. Foreign material (such as dental floss) can be very uncomfortable causing excessive salivation. The oral exam, familiarity with normal occlusion and the normal number of teeth along with dental radiographs arrive at the diagnosis and treatment plan.
Fuzzy 5 yr. Maine Coon. "Pools of liquid"
on the floor was thought to be urine.
Fuzzy had perfuse salivation with teeth grinding.
Fuzzy's right dental arcade (side view).
Right dental arcade palatal (inside mouth) view.
Fuzzy's Left side palatal (inside) view.
Dental radiograph of the right side.
The extra tooth was removed from the
right side to stop the teeth grinding
caused by malocclusion.
Dental radiograph of the left side.
Dental radiograph shows extra tooth was
removed on the left side to correct malocclusion.
Right side; two weeks after surgical
extraction. "Much happier cat"!
Left side; two weeks after extraction.
Intra oral view of left side. A special
flap was used to close the palatal
surgical defect after extraction.
The owner was delighted that her cat
was purring for the first time ever!
Cat Dental Care